(New York, December 5, 2023)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced the acquisition of a monumental Tiffany three-part window, Garden Landscape. The window—over ten feet wide and nearly seven feet tall—was designed by Agnes Northrop in the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany, the attribution of which is based on a signed design drawing for the center panel that resides in The Met collection.
As part of the Museum’s American Wing 100th anniversary, the window will be installed in the Charles Engelhard Court beginning November 2024. The window will be dramatically framed by the columns from Laurelton Hall, Tiffany’s Long Island country estate.
The acquisition is made possible by Alan Gerry Gift; 2023 Benefit Fund; Louis V. Bell, Harris Brisbane Dick, Fletcher, and Rogers Funds and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest; funds and gifts from various donors, by exchange; Ronald S. Kane Bequest, in memory of Berry B. Tracy; Lila Acheson Wallace, several members of The Chairman’s Council, The Erving and Joyce Wolf Foundation, Martha J. Fleischman, Elizabeth J. and Paul De Rosa, Women and the Critical Eye, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lockwood Chilton Jr., Cheryl and Blair Effron, The Felicia Fund, Julie and James Alexandre, Elizabeth and Richard Miller, Anonymous, John and Margaret Ruttenberg, and The Gerald H. Ruttenberg Foundation Gifts.
Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO, said: “This stunning work of art is an extraordinary example of the transformational creativity of Agnes Northrop and Tiffany Studios. Magnificent in concept and execution and more than grand in size, it deepens the American Wing’s Tiffany holdings and will enhance the already stunning Engelhard Court with a powerful, immersive viewing experience.”
Sylvia Yount, Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing at The Met, said: “Northrop’s remarkable environmental work further strengthens our representation of women artists in the American Wing and allows us to share broader stories of early-20th-century culture with our visitors.”
The window was originally commissioned by Sarah Cochran, Pittsburgh businesswoman and philanthropist, for Linden Hall, the grand Tudor-Revival estate she had built in 1912 in Dawson, Pennsylvania. She personally requested the subject of the window, which represents a lush landscape and garden suggestive of her own at the estate. Placed on the stair landing of the house, the window enticed the viewer up marble steps and offered a long vista through tall, majestic pines flanking a central fountain amidst profuse flowers—pink and blue hydrangeas, poppies, and nasturtiums. The two side panels depict, on the left, foxglove and peonies, and on the right, hollyhocks, exquisitely rendered in glass. These were subjects favored by Northrop and American Impressionist painters.
Northrop was one of the most important designers in Tiffany’s employ and his preeminent woman designer. In a field dominated by men, Northrop established herself as one of the leading designers of windows, and was recognized for her work by winning a prestigious award at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. She helps shed light on the critical and often unrecognized role played by women in the art of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Northrop and Tiffany pioneered new landscape and garden subject matter for stained glass, and the window reveals Northrop’s careful observations of nature and her gift for translating it into glass.
Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts, said: “This extraordinary evocation of a garden landscape is Northrop’s masterpiece. Made during the height of Louis Tiffany’s career, it was conceived, commissioned, and crafted by women. Featuring flowers in bloom from spring through summer, seen in the enigmatic light of approaching twilight, the window presents a luxuriant garden perennially in bloom.”
Tiffany’s opalescent glass shares a zeitgeist with American Impressionism, merging imagery with chromatic light. Northrop exploited the varied textures, lush colors, and light effects that were only possible with Tiffany’s special Favrile glass made at his furnaces in Corona, Queens, utilizing especially innovative and unusual techniques, some unique in a stained-glass window. The ingenious selection of the glass as well as the cutting of the glass into often thousands of pieces of almost impossible shapes was done by Tiffany’s skilled artisans, who were also largely women. Tiffany deemed the Linden Hall window of such note that he put it on public view in his New York showroom before shipping it to Cochran’s Pennsylvania home.